After years of lying vacant, dozens of acres on the south side of Pearland Town Center will be developed to accommodate apartments—to the dismay of nearby homeowners.

The full story

On March 25, Pearland City Council decided in a split 4-3 vote to support Tennessee-based CBL Properties' request to rezone a portion of Pearland Town Center to build up to 400 apartment units.

However, city officials received more than 100 written comments opposing rezoning the area. Several Pearland homeowners who said they lived near the proposed development also spoke in opposition to the motion at the City Council meeting.

Some members of council voted in favor of the rezoning because they believed it would offer more housing options in Pearland. Others felt building a major entertainment center—a use the 37 acres in question were initially designated for with event center district zoning—would not be supported by the market.

An event center district zoning designation allows for constructing an event and performing arts center, retail or a theater, according to agenda documents.

In September 2021, Pearland City Council denied a request for a planned development amendment that would have allowed CBL Properties to build 142 single-family, detached residential lots, according to agenda documents.

CBL Properties proposed amenities throughout the site, including a clubhouse, a pool, a dog park, a play area, a pond overlook seating area, benches along the trail and additional shade trees along the existing pond, according to agenda documents.

Those in favor

Council member Adrian Hernandez, who voted for the rezoning, said he read every note the city received from residents opposing rezoning the area for apartments but ultimately felt apartments would serve to bolster Pearland’s housing options.

“We have a very strong business community, a very diverse business community, particularly in the west with some very high-end employers, and they all need a place to live,” Hernandez said. “We can't continue to build single-family homes.”

Council member Tony Carbone, who also voted for the rezoning, said he believes the market didn’t have a demand for an entertainment center.

Those opposed

Along with council members Layni Cade, Chad Thumann and Rushi Patel voting against the motion, several residents spoke out at the meeting as well.

“It’s just going to create more issues for the homeowners within that area,” Pearland resident Chris Beaver said. “Home values—I don't see them going up; I would see them going down.”

Pearland resident Norma Munoz said she was concerned about the overall increase in apartments in her area and felt the development would contribute to what she felt was overcrowding.

“I don't think that this is feasible,” Munoz said. ”Our schools are overcrowded. There's going to be more traffic, but more than anything, it's the amount of units. It's just too many. We do not need any more apartments in our area.”

Patel said he felt CBL Properties had not exhausted other options in seeking how to develop the land and failed to partner with local business organizations in those efforts, including the Pearland Economic Development Corporation.

“Let's be very frank,” Patel said. “That's not the only option you have. This is the only option that CBL wants. They want to pull their equity out of this land, build it and take it back to Chattanooga.”

What else?

On Feb. 19, Pearland’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended CBL Properties' requested amendments to the Pearland Town Center Planned Unit Development.

There were six public speakers at the February meeting who spoke in opposition to the project, especially the potential effects developing the land for apartments could have on traffic and drainage.